After falling behind early to the Stanford Cardinal, the Washington State Cougars managed to right the ship and come from behind twice to come away with a victory on the Palouse, sending David Shaw and company home with their fifth consecutive loss to the Cougs.
The Cougars sleepwalked through the first quarter, quickly falling behind 13-0, with a negative yardage total for most of that time. The second and third quarters, however, belonged to Wazzu, as the defense would begin to answer the questions Stanford’s passing attack posed, and the offense capitalized on their opportunities, outscoring the Cardinal 27-3 through the two periods.
Stanford took control of the game again through most of the fourth quarter, scoring on back-to-back drives to go up 31-27, but a defensive stop with three and a half minutes to play led to a quick strike, game winning drive by Jayden de Laura and company. The defense forced a fumble from Tanner McKee with under 30 seconds to play, and the Cougars snuck out of Gesa Field with the 34-31 win.
Jayden de Laura finished with 289 yards passing and three touchdowns, Max Borghi paced the ground game with two touchdowns of his own, and Travell Harris was once again the primary threat in the passing game with five catches for 71 yards and a score. The defense generated four sacks, two on the final drive for Stanford, and eight tackles for loss to go with the two turnovers they forced.
Washington State (4-3, 3-2) hosts BYU (5-2) in the battle for the rights to use the #GoCougs next week, in a rare late October non-conference tilt. Kickoff is slated for 12:30 p.m. PDT.
The Anti-Stanford - It’s really bizarre to see a Stanford team struggling to run the ball. The Cardinal came into today’s game averaging less than 100 yards a game on the ground, which has never happened over the course of a full season for a David Shaw-led team. Tonight was no different for the Cardinal, with 76 yards on the ground and only 93 if you take out sack yardage. 2.2 yards per rush is not something that you would ever expect from Stanford.
The Return of the Max - There have been some rumblings that Borghi should be relegated to the #2 back and Deon McIntosh should get the first team reps. Yours truly was included in that chorus. This seemed a bit of a return to form for Borghi, with 17 carries for 89 yards and two scores.
Opportunistic Defense - The defense again continued to vacillate between being explosive, generating turnovers and negative plays, and just getting absolutely run over, around, and through. If Jake Dickert can ever find a way for the defense to put together a consistent run of 60 minutes for this defense, they have a chance to be pretty good.
Flip the Script - Sure was nice to be on the other end of a double digit deficit being overcome, even if the Cougs still managed to blow yet another double digit lead in the same game.
11:10 - Stanford makes quick work of the WSU defense picking up two first downs before McKee finds Benjamin Yurosek in the middle of the field for a 45 yard catch and run touchdown. Stanford 7, WSU 0
4:45 - After a good punt return sets up Stanford with great field position around midfield, the Cougar defense forces McKee to escape the pocket on 3rd and 6, leading to a 51 yard field goal from Joshua Karty. Stanford 10, WSU 0
0:13 - Ron Stone gets his hand on a McKee 3rd down pass and forces another Stanford field goal attempt. Karty knocks it through to extend the lead. Earlier in the drive, Jahad Woods committed a targeting foul and was disqualified for the rest of the game. Stanford 13, WSU 0
0:00 - The WSU offense finally shows a pulse as Borghi takes a delayed handoff from de Laura and goes for 25 yards into Stanford territory.
13:24 - Travell Harris beats the man coverage by the Cardinal secondary and de Laura finds him all alone in the end zone for six. Stanford 13, WSU 7
9:51 - De Laura absorbs a huge hit from Thomas Booker in the pocket and finds Calvin Jackson, Jr. down the right sideline for a 31 yard score. The extra point is blocked, also by Booker. Might want to get in front of him at some point. Stanford 13, WSU 13
3:19 - De Laura works some magic in the pocket on 4th down and escapes pressure, but CJ Moore drops the ball in the end zone.
3:14 - Ahmir Crowder forces a fumble by Nathaniel Peat. Chris Jackson jumps on the loose ball for the Cougs and gives it right back to the offense at the Stanford 10 yard line.
3:07 - De’zhaun Stribling is on the receiving end of de Laura’s third TD pass of the night. Great route running by the freshman on the whip route as he gets leverage on the Stanford corner then beats him to the pylon. Stanford 13, WSU 20
1:45 - McKee dumps it off to Austin Jones who bulls his way through a few WSU defenders as he picks up 32 yards and puts Stanford deep into WSU territory.
0:39 - Jaylen Watson pops the ball out of the hands of Elijah Wiggins on 3rd and short in the red zone, setting Stanford up for Karty’s third field goal. Stanford 16, WSU 20
14:05 - De Laura drops a long bomb in the bucket, finding Lincoln Victor streaking down the sideline for 48 yards.
12:04 - WSU elects to go for it on 4th and 4 from the 23, but de Laura is wide on his throw and the drive fizzles.
4:34 - Max Borghi caps a 66 yard drive with a 2 yard run for a score. The highlight of the drive was back-to-back throws by de Laura, the first to Travell Harris for 23 yards after de Laura had approximately 12 minutes in the pocket, then a 25 yard catch and run by Victor to set up Borghi’s finish. Stanford 16, WSU 27
14:06 - After a ... we’ll be extremely generous and call it questionable ... pass interference call on 3rd down extends the Stanford drive, Tanner McKee does it himself and sneaks it in from the 1 yard line. Tyrone Hill knocks down the conversion attempt, but WSU was playing with 12 defenders on the field. McKee pulls the zone read and scampers in untouched for two points. Stanford 24, WSU 27
11:30 - Jaylen Watson gets beat on a double move and Bryce Farrell runs past him for 31 yards on 3rd down.
7:32 - Tanner McKee bootlegs and dumps it to Austin Jones, who bowls over a couple of WSU defenders on his way to the end zone from 8 yards out. Stanford 31, WSU 27
3:34 - Brennan Jackson comes up with a huge sack on 3rd down to force a Stanford punt and give the Cougs another chance.
3:18 - Calvin Jackson makes up for the drop on the deep ball earlier by hauling in a 41 yard toss from de Laura to start the drive.
1:30 - Borghi again caps a drive with a two yard burst for six. Stanford 31, WSU 34
0:27 - Ron Stone sacks McKee for a huge loss on 1st down, and David Shaw inexplicably doesn’t use a time out. Stone nearly has him again on 2nd down, but somehow McKee escapes and picks up a few. On 3rd down, the WSU defensive line absolutely annihilates the Stanford offensive line and Quinn Roff gets to McKee and forces a fumble that Brennan Jackson scoops. Cue the fight song.
Justus Rogers, prophetic.
#Stanford entered the game with only five giveaways this season.— Colton Clark (@SpokesmanClark) October 17, 2021
I asked Justus Rogers earlier this week how he'd define the #WSU defense's identity ...
"We're going to get the ball at least once or twice, maybe a few times in a game." https://t.co/fyjjPgnh7z
Max passes Jason Hill for third all time in total TDs, and would later tie Jerome Harrison for second on the list.
All will be revealed on Monday. It’s a shame that one man’s selfishness could very likely break up the mojo this team is building.
Nick Rolovich just got a yellow Gatorade shower at midfield. His last act as #WSU coach?— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) October 17, 2021
One Stat to Tell the Tale
17 - Yards per completion for Jayden de Laura. Stanford played an aggressive man coverage, daring de Laura and the WSU receivers to beat them downfield, and the passing game was up to the challenge, ripping off huge chunks of yardage. With a better completion percentage (17/30 for 57% isn’t ideal) de Laura could have had another monster game.